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Sunday, April 6, 2008
U.S. Ryder Cup captain Azinger launches attack on rival captain Faldo

Reuters

LONDON -- U.S. Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger has fired the first blow against Nick Faldo, saying the players from his generation want nothing to do with the European captain.

Paul Azinger

Azinger

Nick Faldo

Faldo

The pair, whose fierce rivalry on the course in the late 1980s and early 1990s continued into the commentary booth as co-analysts on television, will clash again when Europe defends the trophy in Kentucky in September.

"Nick Faldo has tried to redefine himself," Azinger told the Mail on Sunday. "Some people have bought it. Some have not.

"But if you're going to be a prick and everyone hates you, why do you think that just because you're trying to be cute and funny on air now that the same people are all going to start to like you?"

"The bottom line is that the players from his generation and mine really don't want to have anything to do with him."

Azinger finished second to Faldo in the 1987 British Open -- the Briton's first of six major titles -- and criticized his rival's sportsmanship when they halved their Ryder Cup singles match at the Belfry six years later.

"He talked me into giving him a five-footer on the 16th," Azinger said. "He said: 'It's over. You guys have won.' So I waived the putt, Then Davis Love [III] ran over and told me the match was still tied. I can't tell you how irritating that was."

Europe has won the last three meetings but Azinger says a personality clash will stop one of the stalwarts of those campaigns -- Colin Montgomerie -- playing in the 37th edition of the match.

Montgomerie, ranked No. 75 in the world, has won 23 points in eight appearances, a point and a half behind all time record points scorer Faldo.

"[Montgomerie] and Faldo don't seem to get along and there's no way Faldo will award him on of his two wild cards."